Mercy Rheumatologist Dr. Lynn Ludmer Discusses Symptoms Of Lupus in Women
Hair loss, fatigue and skin rashes are very nonspecific symptoms that could eventually lead to a diagnosis of a chronic disease.
Doctors explained what they're looking for when detecting signs of lupus and the treatment that's available.
Mercy rheumatologist Dr. Lynn Ludmer isn't looking for signs of skin cancer on her patient, Patty Nestor, who has a rash that is a sign of something else. Nestor is being treated for lupus at Mercy Medical Center.
"I woke up feeling achy, (I had) a fever, by the time I went downstairs and sat in the chair, I couldn't even move my eyes. Everything in my entire body was just hurting, very painful. In time, I got a little bit better, and five days later, I broke out in a rash from head to toe," Nestor said.
Nestor had symptoms of lupus, an autoimmune disease that mainly affects women before menopause. Lupus can cause a variety of nonspecific issues, like joint and muscle pain.
"Sometimes, there can be weight loss, fatigue -- that's a big problem for people, and it's one of the main (symptoms) patients have with lupus -- and rashes," Dr. Ludmer said.
There can also be hair loss and damage to internal organs. Symptoms that don't go away shouldn't be ignored, and after a lupus diagnosis, treatment involves addressing individual issues.
"So if it's rashes, it maybe just creams that can be prescribed for the rashes. If it's joint pain, maybe something as easy as Tylenol or Advil or Aleve. Obviously, if we're talking about brain disease or kidney disease, then we're talking about medications that would suppress the immune system," Dr. Ludmer said.
In Nestor's case, a good diet and exercise have been extremely helpful, and she said her relationship with Dr. Ludmer has been critical.
"From the moment I met her, we connected, and I think that's what it is all about. You need to have a connection and a relationship with your doctor who listens and is not just looking for that one-shot deal prescription for you. It's the whole wellness plan, be able to talk it through and see how you're feeling," Nestor said.
View Mercy rheumatologist Dr. Lynn Ludmer’s interview regarding signs of lupus in women.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.